POPE MISQUOTED: Despite earlier reports claiming that the Pope viewed Mel Gibson’s controversial movie “The Passion of the Christ” and commented, “It is as it was,” the pontiff’s secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, insists that “the Holy Father told no one his opinion of the film,” according to the Catholic News Service. Gibson and his Icon Productions company still insist upon the integrity of the pope’s endorsement for the film, which depicts the last 12 hours of Jesus’s life.
BACKSTREET BUST: Jane Carter, 44, mother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and pop singer Aaron Carter, was arrested and charged with battery for allegedly breaking into her estranged husband’s home and attacking his girlfriend, Ginger Elrod. Police told the Miami Herald that Carter used a rock to break a window of the Florida Keys home and then dragged Elrod, 29, out of bed and hit her with a remote control. The bust comes just after Aaron and his mother reportedly resolved their financial disputes and she was to resume helping him with his career. She faces a Feb. 3 arraignment.
KOBE LOSES: Accused rapist and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant lost his third endorsement, this time from McDonald’s. The fast food chain has decided not to renew its three-year, $1.5 million sponsorship agreement with the athlete, reports Reuters. He previously lost support from Ferraro of Italy and Coca-Cola.
CRUISE PROPOSES: Tom Cruise, 41, proposed marriage for a stranger at the Spanish premiere of “The Last Samurai.” On Portuguese television, Cruise asked a factory worker named Sonia if she would marry her cameraman boyfriend, Joao Martins. “Sonia, you have to marry Joao. Please marry Joao. He is crying behind the camera.” The BBC reported that Sonia said yes.
BIG HARRY DEAL: Harrison Ford’s $90-million divorce settlement paid to his wife of 18 years, Melissa Mathison, 53, wasn’t the highest in Hollywood history, a lawyer told the BBC. Steven Spielberg beats Ford, 61, after the director forked over $100 million to Amy Irving in 1989. As for other star settlements, Tom Cruise gave Nicole Kidman $85 million in 2001 (and yet he still had the good will to propose marriage for a stranger …), Michael Douglas is said to have paid ex-wife Diandra $68 million and Bruce Willis reportedly handed Demi Moore a cool $70 million.